33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 1999
As a professional scientist with a background in both biochemistry and computer science, I have been struck with the arcane stories that otherwise logical scientists have posited to account for why the earth is the way it is, and why there is life on it. While they will generally agree on principles of thermodynamics, entropy, and the matter/energy/time inter-relationships that we now hold as scientific fact, they are particularly more "open minded" when it comes to non-theistic theories regarding the origins of life or the universe. In fact, it would seem that for years, concepts like an "ageless universe" and evolution have become very ingrained in much of the scientific community. In fact, logic seems to have been entirely abandoned by evolutionists that ardently deny creationism; even a marginal thinker eventually realizes that the only significant difference between the evolutionist view and creationist view is the number of creation events. Modern cosmology and origin of life theories the presume no divine element can be characterized generally as speculative and largely unsupported, BUT these very same notions together have become somewhat of an alter-religion in itself that seems to create quite a few believers of ardent faith (see other reviews of this book by those offended at Dr. Ross's view).
Dr. Ross introduces the reader to a number of modern superstitious cosmology arguments and clearly shows how the latest advances in mathematics, physics, and astronomomy (particularly the dramatic discoveries of the Hubble telescope) do not support the modern alter-religion's notion of the universe. In fact, he takes the argument a step further and makes what I found to be a stunningly compelling case for the model set forth some thousands of years ago in the bible. Engaged by this notion when I first read this book some years ago, I conducted my own investion of these same matters and came to similar conclusions as Dr. Ross.
I have always felt that science is at its very best when it evokes a sense of the divine. Indeed anyone reading this book may think much differently about the universe after reading the book than before. Since Dr. Ross wrote this book, several new books have been published on the same subject supporting Dr. Ross's perspective, and in fact there has been much more scientific evidence dug up that points that way. Perhaps it will not be long from today that in critical and intellectually rigorous circles, a writer may risk his or her credibility more by attempting to refute Dr. Ross's Christain view of the universe than by simply agreeing with it.
There have been some minor disputes over whether Dr. Ross took some conclusions too far or misused a contant in some way. I have seen many of these objections and can say that some seem quite valid, some not valid, and many I just cannot tell because I'm not a mathematician. No matter, because even if every argument raised was conceeded by Dr. Ross, the validity of his principal arguments would be largely unchanged. They really add up to trivia in how they affect the overall argument.
I recommend reading all Dr. Ross's books and then read all of attempts to refute him. To explain the same phenomen, the secular scientific critics violate Occam's Razor constantly, asserting arguments so illogical that one cannot but help but feel embarassed for them. Thank you Dr. Ross for giving scientists a reason to stay excited about the wonders that nature and the universe hold for us all.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2000
I read this book (on the suggestion of an astronomer) about the same time as Bertrand Russell's Why I am Not a Christian, in which Russell baldly asserts that "There is no evidence of design" about the universe. Creator and the Cosmos lays that idea to rest, with a thud.
One possible loophole in Ross' argument, however, may be as follows. In order to calculate the probability of an event, (such as the birth of life, or a bio-friendly universe) you need to be able to calculate not only all the possible outcomes (which can be done, Ross shows, producing very big numbers). You also need to be able to calculate the number that are favorable. (All the possible bio-scraps that can reproduce, what life might be possible under other conditions. If other fundamental constants were different, for example, might there be more boron,? Or might some other element attain characteristics that allowed it to take over where carbon left off?) To calculate how all the possible outcomes might affect life in some other form, at least at this stage, seems impossible, but that does not mean the question is absurd. When John Maddox of Nature suggests something like that, Ross dismisses him too quickly, in my opinion.
Still, the evidence Ross offers is at least powerfully suggestive. He certainly does show that the old complain about a "God of the gaps" has now been turned on its head.
I agree with reviewers who think Ross overreached in arguing for Christianity from evidence that merely suggest the existence of God. I believe in Jesus, but not because of the Big Bang! To a certain extent, I think Ross might be copying the error of his opponents, making "new scientific evidence" into a fetish, as if it cancelled out all prior human experience -- as if God's existence and character were knowable only to 21st Century astronomers and their readers! I have found strong evidence for the existence of God, and for specific Christian doctrines, in many other sources: history, prophecy, answered prayer, (including in my own life), miracles, and even in my study of some lesser-known (yet very important) currents in so-called eastern thought and beliefs. It seems to me a tad parochial to discuss ultimate questions about the cosmos without noting the cosmological evidence right under our noses. (Planet earth, after all, is part of the cosmos.) The Absent-Minded Professor syndrome, I guess. One can't fault Ross for getting exciting about his discipline. This is a truly amazing book about a remarkable subject; and if you can relate to the story Ross tells about his childhood, when he pointed a telescope his father gave him at the stars, and all the neighbors gathered around to look, it's even better.
I've just written a book, Jesus and the Religions of Man, that gives more down-to-earth, and sometimes less-familiar, evidence for the Christian faith. For those interested in how Christianity relates to other beliefs, and some of that evidence, you may find my book a good complement to The Creator and the Cosmos.
39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 1998
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and think it is Dr. Ross' finest work. His interaction with COBE, Hawking, Einstein, etc. shows that cosmology has certainly been yielding results that Christian theologians have long advocated. Namely, that the universe began to exist and was caused by God. One previous reviewer mistakenly refers to this philosophical argument as a design argument -- it is clearly a cosmological argument. He/She likewise asks about who caused God. As this question is very boring and has been answered for years, I'd just like to point out that God by definitioin never began to exist. Rather, God has always existed. So, God doesn't need a cause to bring Him into existence. But, the universe has never always existed. What caused the universe to begin to exist?
Another reviewer brings a question concerning Dr. Ross' exegesis of Gen. 1:1. Gen. 1:1 speaks of God creating the entire physical universe. The Heb. meaning of heavens & earth hooked together in verse 1 (shamayin & eretz) = entire physical universe. You can check this with the Hebrew lexicons and with OT scholars such as John Sailhammer.
Also, Dr. Ross' summary of the many constants that must be "fine-tuned" for the universe to contain intelligent life is largely based upon other massive studies that have looked at the so-called anthropic principle. Even the agnostic Stephen Hawking admits this in his A_Brief_History_of_Time. One ought to check Barrow and Tipler's massive work The_Anthropic_Cosmological_Principle before waving this evidence aside with a few remarks about God not being proved scientifically in journals.
Finally, one reviewer thinks that Dr. Ross' views on the origin of death and sin has been challenged as unbiblical by "young-earth" creationists. "Young-earth" creationists hold to the idea that after Adam & Eve sinned in the Garden, physical death came into being in the universe. This is certainly a popular "view" of what the Scriptures teach but it isn't necessarily explicit. In fact, one large error occurs in this popular view -- could Adam & Eve have obtained eternal physical life if they ate from the Tree of Life instead of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil before the Fall? In other worlds, if the Tree of Life was available to them before the fall, how can they obtain something they supposedly already had (eternal physical life)?
In summary, this book is certainly a fine one to discuss for both Christians and those of other persuasions.
20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2000
I found Hugh Ross's discussion helpful and enlightening, but I was forced to conclude that Gerald Schroeder's _God and the Big Bang_ is a far superior book.
In the first place, Ross tends to rush a bit through his positive presentations, be somewhat unclear on details, and hurry on to point out the errors in the assumptions of his opponents. (This last, to my mind, he spends an inordinate amount of time doing, and not very well at that. Though he devotes a great deal of space to it overall, he gives very little attention to any one thinker.)
In the second place, and far more seriously given his aim in this book, he very often writes as though the evidence he is presenting tells exclusively in favor of Christianity. It does not; his Creator God, and the relevant chapters of Genesis, are hardly the exclusive property of the Christian religion, and at any rate his cosmological argument proves not one single thing about Jesus. Very nearly every argument in this volume is in fact _also_ an argument for the God of Judaism -- a point lost on Ross because he regards Judaism as in some way "deny[ing] portions of God's transcendence" [p. 79].
(Yes, that's what he says -- in what, as far as I can tell, is his _sole_ comment on Judaism in this entire volume. Since he gives no reason for this remark beyond the fact that Judaism "rejects the New Testament," I have no way to tell precisely _what_ part of Judaism he has misunderstood. By the way, his remark also refers to Islam, Mormonism, and one or two other religions whose adherents will no doubt be surprised to learn that they "deny portions of God's transcendence.")
Now, I certainly don't think that a Christian author needs to go out of his way to argue for Judaism! But my criticism is still entirely relevant, since according to Ross himself, he typically winds up his cosmology lectures by asking people whether they're ready to accept Christ -- apparently on the grounds that he has somehow proven the truth of Christianity by making a good case for the existence of the God of Genesis.
So I think it is entirely pertinent and just to point out that, in fact, he has proven no such thing. In fact just about the only thing in this volume with which a Jew would be bound to disagree is Ross's apparent belief that his science supports _only_ Christianity. What it supports is belief in the God of the Bible. Whether the New Testament merits inclusion in that Bible is an entirely separate question, beyond the scope both of Ross's book and of my review thereof.
At any rate, this is a fairly good book. I would just recommend supplementing it with something else -- something both more informative and less unjustifiably sectarian.
(And note that a book presenting actual arguments in favor specifically of Christianity would count as _justifiably_ sectarian! I'm not objecting to the book's Christian bent, just to its complete failure to recognize that its content is not concerned with anything unique to Christianity.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2010
As far as science-based Christian apologetics go, this is as good as it gets. This is the sort of book that Galileo or Copernicus could have easily written a forward for. In fact faculty from Texas A&M, University of Chicago, and Caltech have done just that. Now I am still naive when it comes to exegetical discussions but not so much when it comes to scientific ones. So let me just say that if Ross's exegesis is as good as his science, then one would be hard pressed to find much fault with this book or with any of Ross's other work.
I've yet to read the 3rd edition, but I look forward to doing so.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Hugh Norman Ross (born 1945) is a Canadian-born astrophysicist and creationist Christian apologist, who strongly defends the "old earth" perspective. He has also written books such as The Fingerprint of God,Creation and Time: A Biblical and Scientific Perspective on the Creation-Date Controversy,A Matter of Days: Resolving a Creation Controversy, etc.
Here are some quotations from this 1993 book:
"...during my graduate student days... several of my peers embraced one or more of the many Hindu or Buddhist sects in vogue, I asked them why... What clinched their commitment, they said, was the amazing accuracy of Hindu scriptures in predicting the period of oscillation, the time between successive rebirths. These writings said 4.32 billion years... My friends reasoned that for the ancient Hindus to get that close to the right answer, Hinduism must be more than a humanly crafted religion... (but) The world view underlying Hinduism and its many derivatives has proven false." (Pg. 62-63)
"(Stephen) Hawking also rejects the anthropic principle, which is the observation that the universe has all the necessary and narrowly defined characteristics to make human life possible. Hawking aparently finds it impossible to believe that 'this whole vast construction [the universe] exists simply for our sake.' ... But, he ignores a growing body of research. The uniformity, homogeneity, and mass density of the universe all must be precisely as they are for human life to be possible at any time in the universe's history..." (Pg. 86)
"As for (Stephen Jay) Gould's examples of bad design, three responses come to mind. The first is that his judging of certain biological components as bad is largely subjective. Others have disagreed with his evaluations... A second response is that to believe in creation by God is not to claim that all the development in organisms is strictly divine." (Pg. 104)
"Though I'm convinced that the origin of life defies a naturalistic explanation, I am expecting that life, or the remains of life, will eventually be discovered on Mars. My reason has nothing to do with spontaneous generation. It has everything to do withi Mars' proximity to Earth." (Pg. 144)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 1997
Dr. Ross has some interesting things to say from a cosmology standpoint. His discussion concerning the "Just Right" universe is perhaps the most compelling part of the book.
However, Dr. Ross appears to be quite errant in some essential parts of Christian theology. Most significantly, the doctrine of sin (Hamartiology) and its beginning is totally disregarded by Ross. It is no wonder that he receives such loud criticism from Ken Ham and other "young earth" creationists. If he wants to be taken more seriously by main-stream Christians, he will need to do some more explaining.
I do recommend reading this book however, if you are well-taught enough to not be glazed over by all the doctinal problems. There is some good stuff to be taken on your way out.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2003
This is a very powerful book, I highly recommend it to everyone especially atheist or people who have very little faith in their God. This book is not only informative but also very interesting and readers will surely enjoy this book. Anyone can read this book even layperson because the author has made it sure that everyone can understand what is written in this book. I suggest you buy this book, you will not regret it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2001
Hugh Ross does an excellent job of showing how much faith is required to deny a divine creator. He takes current scientific findings and weaves them into the fabric of a created universe and shows how these findings would not support an eternal godless universe. It is amazing to see the beliefs to which men will cling to deny God. Ross shines the light of truth on some of those beliefs.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 1998
I appreciated the fearless presentation of how the facts of nature and reality DO NOT contradict the Bible. The description of the Extradimensional perspective to the Christian Worldview should be given more publicity and exposure than it has so far. This book, and a thirst for truth are a good combination.